The C-E-O of Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins says the next “big thing” in the aerospace industry will be ensuring airline passengers can communicate with people and computers on the ground. Rockwell Collins C-E-O Clayton Jones says in an era when cell phones and lap tops are commonplace, “there’s only one place in the world that you can go today and not be conveniently connected to your home or office…onboard an airplane.” Jones says his company hopes to be on the cutting edge as airlines begin offering travelers that connection.Jones says “this will be the next big thing in commercial aviation.” Jones expects the first airlines to begin marketing such in-the-air service to target business travelers who’d be willing to pay a little extra because “they want to work on the airplane.” Jones says Rockwell Collins has already secured contracts with jet-maker Boeing and two airlines to be the provider of hardware for the communications networks that would provide “connectivity” in the air. While such in-the-air systems are a “very low revenue source” for Rockwell Collins today, Jones believes it will become a significant growth area for the company within five years. Jones spoke this afternoon to a Banc of America aerospace conference that was broadcast on-line.
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